Energy drinks don't give you wings

Energy drinks can be found in gyms, sporting fields, and even in our children's classrooms in what now amounts to a $3 billion industry.

But while the cola and soda market is starting to decline, energy drink consumption is on the rise, helped, of course, by those cool cans with the hip advertisements.

So where exactly do these drinks get all their 'energy' from? I've looked into this very question and come up with some good reasons why you should think hard before grabbing that colourful little can off the shelf.

The sugar - One brand boasts they produce the world's most powerful energy drink. If power equals sugar grams, then they are correct. One 500ml can I looked at contained 83.5 grams of sugar – about 19 sugar cubes. That's the same sugar content as 8 donuts. All the other players in the energy drink market contain about 55 grams of sugar per large can. Shocking.

Dr Alan Barclay with the Australian Diabetes Council recommends we consume no more than 10 – 12 added teaspoons of sugar per day – but these energy drinks provide almost twice that in one hit.

The stimulants - Many of these drinks contain the caffeine of more than two cappuccinos, with most of them adding taurine, guarana or ginseng as extra stimulants. Caffeine is widely considered addictive, and so you can only assume these energy drinks are too.

Of course two cappuccinos per day isn't the end of a healthy world - but what happens when you add 19 teaspoons of sugar?

When all these elements are mixed at high concentrations, medical experts are finding problems can occur, especially for children or when they were mixed with alcohol. The Medical Journal of Australia recently published a study that examined call data to the Poison Information Centre over the last seven years, and found the misuse of energy drinks was increasingly common, with reports of hallucinations, palpitation and even seizures.

The lack of water – If you're drinking energy drinks, then you are not drinking water. The majority of the earth and our bodies are made up of water. To flush out toxins and stay healthy, we don't need sugary, fizzy drinks loaded with chemicals.

The marketing - How many drinks do you know that have the clout to sponsor major sporting events, have dedicated fridges in pubs and promise to give you wings?

Other chemicals – along with artificial flavours, many of these drinks contain chemicals such as sodium citrate, inositol, niacinimide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and cyanocobolamin. What are these chemicals? I'm not a chemist, so I don't know. But I do know they probably don't belong in my body.

The cost – Consuming just one of these drinks per day … imagine the cost to your wallet, your gut, and your health? 83.5 grams of sugar per day is over 30kgs of sugar a year. But the true cost won't be felt by you until sometime down the track when your body finally says "no more".

Are you an energy drink fan - or do you think we would all be better off without them?